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Starting to exercise when I was fat and sedentary

by ET
(South Dakota)

My toughest workouts were when I was just starting to exercise. Even though I was only in my mid-20s, I had been mostly sedentary due to the nature of my full-time job since I was in college. Naturally, I gained quite a bit of weight.

I have had asthma since I was about 10 years old, so working out has never been easy for me, but the asthma plus the excessive weight and inactivity combined to make anything difficult.

I think everyone has to get to a low point, and I remember some highlights from mine. The difficulty of sprinting from my car to the store because it was raining made me realize my body wasn't meant to carry extra weight.

Going up and down the stairs in my townhouse and listening to my knees crackle like popcorn made me aware that I was hurting myself.

I started walking, and I remember that by the time I even got to the walking and biking trail to start my walk, I wanted it to be over. I remember trying every tactic I could think of to get myself to go just a little farther...self-encouragement, distracting myself and pretending I wasn't exercising, counting my steps, making lists in my head, promising myself that I would turn around at the next street light pole.

I walked and walked until I was in a place I'd never been before, and I was sure I couldn't go any farther. Then, I turned around and went home. I had done this on purpose, knowing that I would double my workout because I HAD to get home.

I remember finally getting home, the sweet relief that flooded through me upon seeing my front door.

I had to sit on the couch for I don't know how long until I had the energy to get up and go upstairs to bed. I had blisters in between every toe.

I was at once discouraged and encouraged. Yes, I had done it...but I would have to do it again and again and again.


When you're finally ready to lose weight...

Dear ET,

It can be difficult to exercise with asthma. Yet it is very important for people with asthma to maintain good fitness and healthy body weight. Why?

For several reasons. One, it is harder to breath when you are overweight.

Two, some of the medications that are commonly used for asthma, like prednisone, are steroids that tend to cause weight gain.

Three, there seems to be a hormonal interaction with obesity and asthma. When people with asthma gain weight the asthma can get more severe.

Dr. Dan

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